A pothole is a safety hazard that can damage a vehicle and injure people walking across your driveway. It's also an eyesore that diminishes curb appeal. If you have a pothole in your way, you may be wondering how it got there. Below, learn about what causes potholes, how a driveway paving professional can fix them, and how to prevent future ones from developing.
What Causes Potholes to Form?
Asphalt is a stable, reliable surface, but cracks will naturally form over time. Water from rainfall, lawn irrigation, and other sources can seep into the cracks, penetrating the sublayers of the asphalt.
As temperatures rise and fall during the cooler months of the year, the water freezes and expands, then melts and contracts. The repeated freeze-thaw cycle weakens the asphalt in those areas where water penetration is highest, so when vehicles routinely pass over the top, they cause indentations in the surface.
How Do Driveway Paving Professionals Fix Them?
There are a variety of ways to remedy a pothole. Most driveway paving professionals use hot mix asphalt to address the damage and prevent it from spreading. The first step is to clean the pothole, removing dirt, debris, and broken sections.
Then, the pothole is heated to remove excess moisture and to prepare the surface for the new asphalt. Hot mix asphalt is added and compacted so it adheres to the existing surface. Finally, it must be allowed to cool and set completely.
How Can I Prevent Future Potholes?
Inspect your driveway every few months. Look for any new or worsening cracks and have them promptly filled in by a paving contractor. This will fill in those tiny gaps that can lead to potholes later.
If your driveway hasn't been sealed, now is the time to do it. Sealcoat is an emulsion that dries in a uniform layer atop your driveway and protects against water, oil, and sun damage. This should be done every few years.